ALL BLOG POSTS AND COMMENTS COPYRIGHT (C) 2003-2018 VOX DAY. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. REPRODUCTION WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION IS EXPRESSLY PROHIBITED.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Mailvox: SF/F's transideological malaise

It appears it is not only right-wing conservatives, libertarian extremists and Bible-thumping god-botherers who are thoroughly sick of the meatless, mindless, scalzified SF/F that is being pushed on them by the genre publishers:
I am on the opposite end of the political spectrum from you. I am a Marxist and an atheist, but I didn’t come here to debate politics or religion. Anyway, last year I started writing seriously and I thought I should get out there on the web and see what the “scene” is about right now, sci/fi and fantasy writers and markets and new fiction, especially short fiction. I constantly read sci/fi and fanstasy, but mostly from my collection of old paperbacks, Vance, Herbert, Howard, etc... I read just as much non-fiction from my local library. So I put my finger on the pulse. The experience was disheartening. New short fiction seems to place innovation over all other qualities possible in a particular piece, which means my desire to read a good story is likely to go unsatisfied. Also, the “scene” is completely preoccupied with identity.

And of course, I happened upon the Scalzi/Vox feud. I checked out both blogs. The verdict: Scalzi – rather dull and typical upper middle class views, Vox – incendiary but rigorous, consistent, and most importantly, often funny. As a Marxist I can’t resist good polemic, even from the other side.  I lurk about once a month.

Let me backtrack with a little explanation. Some people out there, perhaps not you, may confuse my radical leftism with the stuff going on out there. They would be wrong. As a Marxist, for me it is class, class, class. Class trumps race, gender, everything. Its all about wealth. The fact that “old white men” are holding alot of it is due to historical forces, not from their “whiteness”. In the 60’s and 70’s, the leftist preoccupation with class was replaced with race and gender issues, to the detriment of all concerned.  Old news, just spelling it out here for clarity’s sake.

So we get to now, and race and gender obsessed “liberal progressives” are such a harmful force in society that I, an actual socialist revolutionary, can enjoy you tormenting them on your blog, even though your political perspective is rooted in basic assumptions that are opposite my own. Strange days indeed. For liberal progressives, this would indicate I am a sexist racist, but as a white male I am already on their shitlist so whatever. I am a Marxist. I believe I am fighting the good fight. I am not going to get on my knees and lick boot, hoping for “ally” status. Eff that. The whole thing is a bizarre repackaging of original sin.

So when you put The Last Witchking out there for free, I thought why not and downloaded it. When it came up in the queue I dived in and I was floored. The stories were excellent. They entertained me. What else can I say? Opera Vita was incredible. There was a poignancy there I was not expecting. Suffused throughout is a certain ephemeral beauty, stately and linked with mortality. The subtlety belies tropes about limitations of the “male perspective” that are bandied about when the writing community weighs in on gender.  I haven’t seen religion done so convincingly and movingly in the genre since Herbert. I went ahead and read Magic Broken and enjoyed it thoroughly and then pulled the trigger on Throne for five bucks and now I am enjoying that.

It is really remarkable that your apparent congenital disorder, the inability to shut up or even tone it down, has disbarred you from the typical path to success as a writer.  I guess there is hope. I found your work via your soapbox. Despite my predilections toward the radical, I never let politics get in the way of personal relationships and now I have to add that it can’t dissuade me from enjoying fiction I like. Thanks for the books. I am hooked on Selenoth now, the antidote for my genre malaise. Please make it your goal to churn out volumes of the stuff for readers like me trying to survive this long winter.
That an avowed Marxist would enjoy my fiction is less surprising than it might sound. I am, after all, a radical, merely one with very different assumptions and objectives. And I've always gotten along much better with the hard left than with the soft, squishy, bourgeois progressive left; one of my independent studies was done under a hardcore Canadian socialist who regarded McDonalds as the capitalist devil incarnate.

Of course, this may be because the hard left is about the only group that hates the progressive left more than I do. One of the great satisfactions about being on the right-wing is the knowledge that even if we lose and the revolution finally arrives in its fullness, the useful idiots are going to be the first ones lined up against the wall and shot. And who can look at the way Wall Street has been raping the country and not feel the urge to raise a revolutionary flag; if that is capitalism, then I don't want any part of it and I'm a libertarian!

But besides our obvious ideological and religious differences, I have to take some issue with the writer's idea that it is my unwillingness to cower before the PC gods of publishing that have prevented me from following the conventional path. While my notoriety would presumably have made it easier for them to decline to publish me - which is theoretical anyhow because I do not have an agent and I have never submitted my work for publication to any of the various genre publishing houses - this actually has the situation backwards.

One reason that I have been so uncompromising and so unwilling to play along with the progressives is because I have known from the start that the substance of my fiction would prevent the mainstream publishers from publishing it. And I also knew I had no interest in writing the sort of tedious political crap they wanted to publish. So, there was no reason to muzzle myself because I knew there was no chance that they would publish books like The Chronicles of King David or Summa Elvetica no matter what I did or did not say. I can't pose as either a hero or a victim because I never had anything to lose in that regard.

In fact, I consider myself incredibly lucky to not only have such strong support from intelligent readers across religious and ideological lines, but to be writing at a time when the gatekeepers are so impotent. All of us who write should be deeply grateful, whether it is to God or to History and the class struggle, to be alive at such a fascinating time! To be able to write exactly what one wants and be able to make it readily available to those who are potentially interested in it is all that any writer can really ask for. Anything beyond that is icing on the cake.

Labels: , ,

81 Comments:

Blogger redlegben November 16, 2013 1:16 PM  

Regarding lining up progressives, it's the Komarovsky realization. Men that are useful, are useful no matter the ideology of those in power.

Anonymous pseudotsuga November 16, 2013 1:38 PM  

That Marxist's comment above is indeed why I come here every day. If I look for thoughtful discussion and actual rigor rather than the self-aware prattlings of the post-modernists,sometime I can actually find that here! Not so much over at Whatever, or whereever, or whoever.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 16, 2013 1:45 PM  

oh my. i think i'd like to nominate a new addition to the Voxian list of titles:
Congenitally Disordered Immoderate

how can you blame Vox for what he says? he was born that way.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wV1FrqwZyKw

Anonymous Godfrey November 16, 2013 1:47 PM  

Marxist? How can anyone be a Marxist anymore? Socialism can't possibly work. It suppresses market pricing. It leads to a misallocation of resources. How many more examples of failed experiments with socialism do we need? Is anyone watching Venezuela?

Socialism is a revolt against reality. It's the religious creed of the envious.

Anonymous aaaaturkey November 16, 2013 1:49 PM  

What do you think of Michael Hudson's thoughts on economics (and related topics)?

I think his ideas can potentially serve as a bridge between the ration sections of the left and right who actually want to put the interests of their community and families before the banker or the progressives pet of the week.

Anonymous Cajin November 16, 2013 2:14 PM  

He shouldn't consider himself "radical". The flavor of Marxism he's talking about is mainstream. My manager is a self-admitted Communist and atheist. A lot of the others in charge where I've worked adhere to various forms of socialism. Now, if I were to come out as a Tea Party member, I would likely lose my job. Who holds the "radical" position?

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:29 PM  

Some people out there, perhaps not you, may confuse my radical leftism with the stuff going on out there. They would be wrong. As a Marxist, for me it is class, class, class. Class trumps race, gender, everything. Its all about wealth.

Marxists use race, gender, everything to gain control of all the power and the wealth. Scalzi's type would fall under the category of everything - they are nothing but the Marxists' useful idiots. If Marxists didn't invented PC, they sure put it to good use.

I come to this blog because of shared principles and an intellectual acuity that should have made writing the above paragraph unnecessary.



Blogger RobertT November 16, 2013 2:30 PM  

"...to be alive at such a fascinating time!"

"May you live in interesting times." Yes, we are truly blessed.

Anonymous A. Nonymous November 16, 2013 2:31 PM  

As a Marxist, for me it is class, class, class. Class trumps race, gender, everything.

Class is a sub-set of race.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 2:35 PM  

This isn't a comment thread about your opinions on Marxism, people. Do try to stay on topic. What part of "I didn’t come here to debate politics or religion" do you find difficult to understand?

Emotional incontinence is neither attractive nor useful.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 2:37 PM  

Taylor, enough already. This is a discussion about genre literature. IT IS NOT A DEBATE ABOUT POLITICS OR RELIGION.

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:40 PM  

Emotional incontinence is neither attractive nor useful.

This is not emotional. I don't play paddy-cakes with the enemy just because he flatters me. Evidently, you do. That is neither attractive nor useful.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 16, 2013 2:41 PM  

consider:
a - Vox only tells libs to shut it ( according to Ann )
b - Vox just told Taylor to shut it

and the implications are?

probably that Vox will tell me too shut it, anon.

we're ALL libs now. ;-p

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:42 PM  

And why do you single me out when everyone else is giving their opinion on Marxism?

Blogger rycamor November 16, 2013 2:44 PM  

I can only imagine what is going through Scalzi's head as he reads this, to realize that his brave stance on identity and politics is merely the lukewarm, squishy, obsequious (and above all things, safe) middle position.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 16, 2013 2:45 PM  

uh, because you're the only one making multiple posts and threatening not to sleep with him ( not visit here ) anymore over this?

sorry, i forgot this is all about you, baby.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 2:45 PM  

Perhaps I should reconsider my previous opinion that making the personal political is primarily a left-right difference. It could perhaps be a male-female difference.

Given that males have the capacity to compartmentalize, and can discuss the subject at hand without making it all about their personal political preferences.

Getting back to the subject at hand, we've always had leftists writing sci-fi. But it wasn't until women started writing sci-fi that the genre went downhill.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 2:51 PM  

This is not emotional. I don't play paddy-cakes with the enemy just because he flatters me. Evidently, you do. That is neither attractive nor useful.

When someone says that they want to talk about books, specifically, sci-fi, and they say "I didn’t come here to debate politics or religion", many people, especially males, are able to respect that and talk about the books.

Not every single discussion has to be about politics or religion.

Note how the new atheists generally behave in a comment thread, trying to steer it towards sky daddies or bronze age tribes or whatever their particularly stupid take on theology is.

What you're doing isn't very different.

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:51 PM  

This is nothing personal. The fact that you imagine that to be the case is simply a function of your tiny little minds.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 2:52 PM  

Taylor, what part of "enough already" do you not understand? You're not a constructive part of this conversation. Now drop it.

I'm not about to devote my life to the class struggle because a single Marxist happens to enjoy one or two of my novels.

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:55 PM  

I'm not about to devote my life to the class struggle because a single Marxist happens to enjoy one or two of my novels.

Good.

Anonymous Jill November 16, 2013 2:56 PM  

I've often found I have more in common with the hard left than the soft and squishy right or left. But I see you've already insisted this isn't a post about politics or religion, and I was *this close* to making it so. Good literature, regardless of the ideological bent of the author, should rise above ideology and touch on the universal human condition. Opera Vita was the best story in the Witch King; it's touched by the intangible qualities of universal truths. I wouldn't have given that group of stories 5 stars if it had not contained Opera Vita.

Anonymous Myrddin November 16, 2013 2:57 PM  

I don't play paddy-cakes with the enemy just because he flatters me. Evidently, you do. That is neither attractive nor useful.

WRT usefulness, it's the winning strategy to the prisoner's dilemma. Play nice with those who play nice. Play dirty against those who play dirty. As for attractiveness, apparently there's a Marxist reading his literature. Q.E.D.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 3:00 PM  

Getting back to the subject at hand, we've always had leftists writing sci-fi. But it wasn't until women started writing sci-fi that the genre went downhill.

Very much so. Consider these Futurians: Isaac Asimov, James Blish, Jack Gillespie, Damon Knight, Frederik Pohl. Not exactly an uninfluential lot.

"At the time the Futurians were formed, Donald Wollheim was strongly attracted by communism and believed that followers of science fiction "should actively work for the realization of the scientific world-state as the only genuine justification for their activities and existence". It was to this end that Wollheim formed the Futurians, and many of its members were in some degree interested in the political applications of science fiction."

There have always been left-wing and libertarian strains of SF. But, and this is the crucial difference, they were strains of actual SF! They were writing science fiction, not romance or whatever "working out my psychological issues and personal disappointments through necrobestial erotica" should be called.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 3:03 PM  

Opera Vita was the best story in the Witch King; it's touched by the intangible qualities of universal truths.

Yeah, I'm really glad I wrote it. I didn't intend to, but after finishing Witchking, I realized that the two dark stories needed some sort of counterbalance. I didn't want the ebook to be nothing but a dark and ghastly downer. And I like how it ties in with both Summa and ATOB.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 3:03 PM  

I haven’t seen religion done so convincingly and movingly in the genre since Herbert.

I would agree with this, and compare the religion in ATOB to the religion in ASOIAF. GRRM writing about religion is like a blind man writing about colors or a celibate writing erotica.

Blogger lmcquaid November 16, 2013 3:10 PM  

Does this Marxist have a blog? If so please post it.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 3:18 PM  

There have always been left-wing and libertarian strains of SF. But, and this is the crucial difference, they were strains of actual SF! They were writing science fiction, not romance or whatever "working out my psychological issues and personal disappointments through necrobestial erotica" should be called.

Perhaps this shift helps to explain it:

In the 60’s and 70’s, the leftist preoccupation with class was replaced with race and gender issues, to the detriment of all concerned.

Hardcore leftist focused on the class struggle is more abstract and ideas focused than the squishy soft leftist focus on race and gender, which is going to be much more about personal struggles etc (especially that of the author). So old leftist SF would be about ideas, not romantic wish fulfillment.

Anonymous Anonagain November 16, 2013 3:27 PM  

WRT usefulness, it's the winning strategy to the prisoner's dilemma.

Even more useful is to not become a prisoner, and thus forgo the dilemma altogether.

Anonymous bob k. mando November 16, 2013 3:51 PM  

Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:51 PM
This is nothing personal. The fact that you imagine that to be the case is simply a function of your tiny little minds.

vs

Anonagain November 16, 2013 2:42 PM
And why do you single me out ...




Taylor asserts that the thread is personal, then asserts that people thinking that she thinks the thread is personal are microcephalic.


i'd call that an exquisite own goal.

Blogger rcocean November 16, 2013 3:58 PM  

One wonders how many great novels over the last 50 years have gone unread or unpublished because the Corporate Liberals have refused to publish them or demanded changes or denied publicity.

I'd note that without the internet I wouldn't even know who Vox Day was, and that Coulter's would've died when the NR girley-men fired her.

Blogger rcocean November 16, 2013 4:00 PM  

Pretty much every independent voice on the Right only exists because of talk radio, cable TV, or the internet. Without these, we'd still be watching 90 year old Dan Rather for news every night.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 4:01 PM  

GRRM writing about religion is like a blind man writing about colors or a celibate writing erotica.

I wouldn't go that far. The religion of the Ironborn is pretty powerful and the political influence of the Church is handled pretty well, especially when they turn the tables on Cersei. Of course, he completely dropped that angle and seems to have largely forgotten about them.

Blogger rcocean November 16, 2013 4:03 PM  

The fascination of some women with SF always puzzled me. Its always been the "geekiest" of genres, full of science and abstract ideas. I have not seen pictures of SF female authors, but I can imagine.. shudder.

Anonymous Stickwick November 16, 2013 4:06 PM  

Josh: Hardcore leftist focused on the class struggle is more abstract and ideas focused than the squishy soft leftist focus on race and gender ...

Excellent point, Josh. Probably explains why most hardcore leftists seem to be male rather than female.

My Finnish husband, who grew up in the shadow of the Soviet Union and two devastating wars with the Soviets, naturally despises communists -- but I've seen him exhibit far more visceral loathing of the Social Democrats who've been running things in Finland for the last few decades. It's probably the amorphous, smothering, feminine squishiness of progressivism that bothers him more than the hard-edged principles of communism. Both of those -isms are orthogonal to reality, which is why they're ultimately so bad, but at least the latter strives to be internally consistent.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 4:14 PM  

Both of those -isms are orthogonal to reality, which is why they're ultimately so bad, but at least the latter strives to be internally consistent.

Say what you like about the tenets of Marxism, at least it's an ethos...

Blogger Tom Kratman November 16, 2013 4:23 PM  

Eric Flint - who's a Trot - tends to detest liberalism, too. I think he's short sighted, as is the marxist, above. The revolutionary purpose of liberalism is not to prevent the revolution, by ameliorating the lives of the workers, but to bring the revoluton about by doing what capitalism has signally failed to do, which is to say by immiserating the workers by ruining their societies, their societies' economies, their family structures, their just about everything. That - along with just being slightly different shades along the political spectrum, while sharing most core beliefs - is why I lump them together as libleprs.

Anonymous lozozlo November 16, 2013 4:38 PM  

Taylor, what part of "enough already" do you not understand? You're not a constructive part of this conversation

Wasn't Taylor troll-banned a long ways back...even before you had the more sensible and less tolerant rules than you have now? There was a very good reason for that...

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 4:56 PM  

Hey, anyone on the thread want to talk about SF/F?

Bueller?

Anonymous kh123 November 16, 2013 4:58 PM  

Well, good on the emailer for not making the political personal when it comes to others' creativity.

Anonymous Jack Amok November 16, 2013 4:59 PM  

Concentrations of power are repellant to more than one part of the political spectrum, though many, shall we say, colors on that rainbow just end up advocating a different concentration of power, one they think they'll benefit from. But they still loathe the current powers that be, and genre publishing has become a pretty nasty concentration of power.

I think the tipping point for any concentration, when it really becomes intolerable, is when the insiders feel secure enough that they don't bother trying to do their actual job any longer and devote their energy to promoting their personal agenda. The CDC stops worrying about communicable diseases and advocates gun control. A political party stops trying to govern according to a particular ideology and instead tries to maximize cash flow. Editors at a publisher stop trying to publish the best fiction and instead promote some sort of social justice or other quasi-religious view.

In every case, it's from a sense of invulnerability. The insiders don't think they'll be accountable in any way for putting their agenda ahead of their job. They're always wrong, though sometimes not until the semi-distant future. For publishers, that future pulled into the station when epub became a large-scale reality.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 5:05 PM  

Are other professional genre organizations as incompetent and corrupt as the SFWA?

Anonymous bob k. mando November 16, 2013 5:11 PM  

Josh November 16, 2013 4:56 PM
Hey, anyone on the thread want to talk about SF/F?



i'll second Stick; your point about masculine class marxism vs feminine issue marxism is quite apt.

Kratman's point is also well made. although, expecting someone who has already swallowed the precepts of marxism whole to necessarily grasp the utility of 'useful idiots' may be asking a bit much.

i don't really see anything from Vox or the Unknown Class Marxist above to refine or dispute.

so ... this thread is wrap, then?

Anonymous wcu November 16, 2013 5:27 PM  

Vox, have there been any talks about taking any of your books to the big screen?



Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 5:29 PM  

Vox, have there been any talks about taking any of your books to the big screen?

Not lately. I got approached a few times for Rebel Moon during the "movies about the president" phase for some reason and with regards to War and Shadow, but I was not interested.

Unless David Benioff is interested, I'm not.

Anonymous 445supermag November 16, 2013 5:33 PM  

It's interesting how some works are claimed by both sides, Hitchhiker's Guide immediately springs to mind. But more and more, Mike Judge's Idiocracy seems to be the go to example of the future if your political opponents succeed.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 5:39 PM  

Unless David Benioff is interested, I'm not.

An HBO production of ATOB would be spectacular. They've hit on the best way to film epic literature.

Anonymous AXCrom November 16, 2013 5:45 PM  

VD,

The Chronicles of King David... Did you ever write this? I recall you mentioning it here years ago.

Anonymous Hoss November 16, 2013 5:46 PM  

"...the useful idiots are going to be the first ones lined up against the wall and shot."

Right on. Solzhenitsyn broke that down for us.

Blogger Dominic Saltarelli November 16, 2013 5:49 PM  

Less talking about Marxism or genre literature, more talking about feminine squishiness. It makes the rockin' world go 'round.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 5:54 PM  

The Chronicles of King David... Did you ever write this? I recall you mentioning it here years ago.

IIRC he had several chapters written, available on his old eternal warriors site.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 5:57 PM  

Did you ever write this? I recall you mentioning it here years ago.

Just a few chapters. I got an offer from Tyndale, I think it was, but they wanted to turn the trilogy into a single book. So I turned it down. One interesting thing about it was that Jack Abramoff read it and loved it. He emailed me a few times about it.

Anonymous ? November 16, 2013 6:00 PM  

One reason that I have been so uncompromising and so unwilling to play along with the progressives is because I have known from the start that the substance of my fiction would prevent the mainstream publishers from publishing it.

If Ringo, Kratman, Wright, and Correia can be published by the mainstream, why not you?

Each of those authors has something in the "substance of their writing" that enrages progressives - which is among the reasons I buy their stuff - but they are nonetheless published.

Anonymous Josh November 16, 2013 6:00 PM  

Speaking of David, does anyone remember that Kings show on NBC that was cancelled after one season? It was an interesting retelling of David in modern times.

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 6:23 PM  

If Ringo, Kratman, Wright, and Correia can be published by the mainstream, why not you?

I am considerably more notorious and most of my fiction is a bigger departure from what those gentlemen are writing. Also, Baen can't really be described as mainstream. It is run differently than the other publishers. They have their thing, they know what it is, and they stick to it, which is probably why they are doing better than the others.

It's not a problem, you understand. I haven't been submitting anywhere nor do I intend to do so. With one exception, the publishers have been approaching me. They're not singular entities, so there is always some editor, usually a man, who reads my stuff, likes it, and decides they should pick it up. Then it always gets shot down by some woman who is offended by one thing or another.

No problem. I VASTLY prefer being able to make every decision myself, starting with what to write and ending with the covers. I've had complete control over every cover except the two stupid Pocket Books trade paperbacks, so long as one realizes that "control" and "Kirk" don't belong in the same sentence.

Anonymous DonReynolds November 16, 2013 6:28 PM  

A moving discussion. It seems Vox has another fan.
It is difficult not to appreciate an artist when you admire his art.
Letters like that are better than awards. Congratulations Vox.

The hard left are not our enemies......rivals perhaps on the playing field, but I can appreciate them as men willing to fight, just as ball players can admire individual players for their skill and passion for the game. We can all see past the color of their jersey and imagine a time when we may actually end up on the same team, or hunting the same game in the forest.

Anonymous slow November 16, 2013 6:32 PM  

Are there plans to offer free downloads of any of your works again in the future?

Anonymous VD November 16, 2013 6:42 PM  

Are there plans to offer free downloads of any of your works again in the future?

Pretty soon, as a matter of fact. I believe 2-3 December are the next dates planned.

Anonymous slow November 16, 2013 6:51 PM  

Good to know. I will keep an eye out for them.

Anonymous zen0 November 16, 2013 7:01 PM  

VD reveals:

I got an offer from Tyndale, I think it was, but they wanted to turn the trilogy into a single book.

Out of curiosity, what period was book 2 going to cover?

Anonymous p-dawg November 16, 2013 7:08 PM  

@VD: "if that is capitalism, then I don't want any part of it and I'm a libertarian!"

You know it isn't. it's fascism - Wall Street could not do what it's doing without the full help and support of the government. There's nothing capitalist about what's going on right now.

Anonymous wcu November 16, 2013 7:51 PM  

Josh, my wife and I watched that short lived series. Sorry to see it go off the air...didn't care for their gay depiction of one of the most honorable men in the bible though...I guesswith this childish age, male friendship must be because...gay...

Anonymous What Would Lodi Do? November 16, 2013 8:26 PM  

I haven’t seen religion done so convincingly and movingly in the genre since Herbert.

Did Herbert really handle religion that well, though? He definitely had more insight into it than, say, Sheri Tepper, but the Dune series left me with the distinct impression that he really didn't understand it a deeper level -- that the true mindset of a believer was ultimately alien to him. Somewhat sympathetic, generally fair-minded, moderately well-informed, but in the end still showing that he was very much an outsider.

Anonymous LL November 16, 2013 8:42 PM  

Someone up there asked about the appeal of Sci Fi to women. I can say for myself, as a child I started in the age appropriate and sex appropriate books like the Dear God, This Is Margaret but found the mythology books at the school library about 4th grade. My interests segued to sci fi. I think it has to do with being drawn in to the fantastical. One book I recall distinctly is I, Robot. That was so beyong the realm of our times and the story transported me elsewhere, elsetime. It didn't have to have anything to do with my understanding of the world around me. Escapism at its finest. Being a girl had nothing to do with it. I also got sucked in to the Pern world. It was all fantasy and otherworldly. Isn't that why people read sci fi and fantasy? Why read it for written soft core porn and identity angst? If I wanted identity angst, I'd go for Bladerunner before Avatar.

Anonymous Carlotta November 16, 2013 9:49 PM  

What a nice letter. It doesnt get much better then that for a writer.

The Chronicles of David sound so interesting. I have always loved reading about him and my children do as well.

Anonymous E. PERLINE November 16, 2013 9:53 PM  

Someone may start out as a Democratic Party member and ease into liberalism and then become a left winger with a national socialist agenda, and then become a Communist. If we travel in only one direction, we will eventually get there. That's why it's correct to call liberals communists.

Anonymous scoobius dubious November 16, 2013 9:54 PM  

VD: "One of the great satisfactions about being on the right-wing..."

Well I know you're trying to keep the discussion sticking to genre writing, so disregard this question if you must, but I'm curious. What would you call the essential elements of being "right-wing"? Personally I identify myself as an "anti-leftist," because I know what the left wants and I'm against all of it; but that doesn't make me necessarily "right-wing" (at least in my own mind) because I'm not sure I know what a potential "right" movement actually is. And I certainly don't identify with the GOP or with so-called "conservative" movements because I see no evidence that they are trying to conserve anything. So, what in your opinion would constitute essential elements for considering oneself to be genuinely "of the right"?

Anonymous E. PERLINE November 16, 2013 10:04 PM  

I worked seven months at the Government Printing Office in Washington D.C. Since I came from NYC I hustled my bustle at every job I ever had. I was told by the foreman in Washington to "slow down." I'm grateful because I learned a principal of mathematics. A govenment worker produces one third of what a private industry worker must produce.

Anonymous zen0 November 16, 2013 10:20 PM  

"A government worker produces one third of what a private industry worker must produce. "

Government workers, not doing the work that others aren't allowed to do!

Anonymous dh November 16, 2013 11:46 PM  

scoob--

anti-leftist

That's actually really great and explains a lot. What an interesting way to define yourself. It is not unlike anti-communists or the ancient anti-federalists.

Anonymous Eric Ashley November 16, 2013 11:55 PM  

'Kings' had David fumble his way supposedly into killing the Goliath tank. That's pretty much all you need to know about the show right there. Bryan Singer said it with X-men....I was not a comic book fan, but I knew that people had been taking this stuff seriously for twenty years so I wanted to do likewise. And thus Singer gave birth the Superhero Wave of movies, and 'Kings' died quick.

The Dragon King trilogy by Stephen R. Lawhead struck me as the story of David, inspired by, that is. Not that I wouldn't be glad to read The Chronicles of David; the Arthurian fantasists proved you could rewrite a good story over and over again.

Anonymous Anonymous November 17, 2013 6:20 AM  

A man walks into a bar with an alligator under his arm...

A Marxist and a Progressive get into an argument over gender identity antagonism versus class antagonism and which is more evil...the punchline is something about the Christian arguing that gender and class - in Christ, don't matter anymore.

I never let politics get in the way of personal relationships and now I have to add that it can’t dissuade me from enjoying fiction I like.

There is hope for this one yet. Re-reading a bio on C.S. Lewis - discussing the "night time conversation with Tolkein," and its effects on Lewis' theology. The biographer posits that it wasn't reason that was Lewis' problem with theism and eventually Christianity - but his imagination regarding God and Christ. When Lewis could understand (thanks to Tolkein) that belief in the Christian myth (defined as story and not something false) did not automatically render all other myths (which Lewis was steeped in) absolutely false - because all myth contained, according to Tolken, at least some truth. It just so happens however that the Christian myth is true. It wasn't until Lewis opened himself to Christian thought and imagination, that his conversion was made possible. Specifically - that the christian picture of man, society and evil rang true...more so than any other system of belief.

Allowing one's ideology to drive personal relationships as well as reading tendencies is a blatant contradiction to the progressive (desiring progress for society) philosophy.

Blogger njartist November 17, 2013 9:07 AM  

"One of the great satisfactions about being on the right-wing is the knowledge that even if we lose and the revolution finally arrives in its fullness, the useful idiots are going to be the first ones lined up against the wall and shot. "
Damn straight. I describe it as when the light of truth passes through the mind from from to back: the third eye finally opens.

Anonymous Stilicho November 17, 2013 10:14 AM  

So, what in your opinion would constitute essential elements for considering oneself to be genuinely "of the right"?

Scoob, the Sharon Statement is a good starting point. Many who pretend to be conservatives do not adhere to any of the principles, but it remains the best guideline I've found.

Anonymous biff November 17, 2013 11:30 AM  

>Did Herbert really handle religion that well?

He really liked mad cultists working wonders for their mad genius priest-scientists. Worked great in Hellstrom's Hive.

But Robert Chase does Christians habitually acting on Christian principle, who stop and think about Christian theology before important decisions. The Game of Fox and Lion. Shapers. Herbert never even tries for a Bene Geseret equivalent. Even Steven Brust shows devout socialists preaching sermons that reference Hegel according to Marx as seen by Trotsky contra the Kronstadt sailers.

Still, I liked the Orange Catholic Bible.

Anonymous Shutterbug November 17, 2013 11:48 AM  

Someone here asked about the reason for females being attracted to SF/F. For me the attraction to really good SF/F (LOTR, Dune, etc) is that allows me to use my imagination and to ponder deep subjects such as philosophy, religion, the battle between and natures of good and evil, the essence of humanity. I like to consider ideas and discuss them rather than discuss other people and what's in style. As for what these females look like... well... I'm middle-aged now but my face won't turn you to stone. :-)

Anonymous Gx1080 November 17, 2013 12:13 PM  

Dunno Vox. Most hardcore Marxists that I've seen are all too happy to throw themselves to the Progressives for whatever crumbles of power their masters allow them.

Anonymous Dr. J November 17, 2013 1:38 PM  

Fairly late to this party, but it seems the proper place to mention that Throne of Bones has been a great read so far. The use of ancient Roman lexicon throws a minor wrench into my read as I've had to look up several words during the Amorran chapters. The bath-house chapter was definitely an education in the Roman bathing process, and it shows a certain amount of research that lends credibility to the novel as a whole.

I'm still trying to wrap my head around the different nations. I'm guessing that Amorr represents a post-Constantine Roman empire, but what is the real-world analogue to Savondir? It reads like the French nation during the Renaissance, and I keep expecting their forces pull out gunpowder at any moment (I guess the battlemages would suffice). Add to that a Viking nation that seems to fall around Eric the Red's time.

I suppose I'm just asking - are the nations supposed to have contemporaneous real-world analogues?

Anonymous kh123 November 17, 2013 2:09 PM  

"Still, I liked the Orange Catholic Bible."

I think that was the power of how Herbert wrote it. It's mentioned enough, naturally and matter-of-factly, to make the reader aware of how it plays into the story and characters, but it's such an ingrained part of the world that it's never really spoken or thought of in a concerted manner by the players or narrator; a given almost like breathing. And like the tetragrammaton*, it's ancient and almost unapproachable, and thus an incredible air of mystery and unbelievable gravitas.

*Why some Jews today call God "ha'shem" or "G-d" rather than the actual name itself.

Anonymous kh123 November 17, 2013 2:11 PM  

...It also plays somewhat into how the Bene Gesserit approach the whole thing, like a set of standing orders that are, on some level, classified even to them.

Anonymous Alas November 17, 2013 2:59 PM  

@Stilicho,

Regarding the Sharon Statement,

That the Constitution of the United States is the best arrangement yet devised for empowering government to fulfill its proper role, while restraining it from the concentration and abuse of power;

Sadly, the next 53 years of experience makes this statement seem less compelling...

Post a Comment

Rules of the blog
Please do not comment as "Anonymous". Comments by "Anonymous" will be spammed.

<< Home

Newer Posts Older Posts